LAGOS, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) -- The Nigerian government has announced a 10 billion naira (about 25.3 million U.S. dollars) fund to support domestic vaccine production to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
At a news conference on Monday in Abuja, Health Minister Osagie Ehanire revealed that the ministry of finance has released the 10 billion naira fund as the country is working to develop an indigenous coronavirus vaccine.
"While we are working to develop our own vaccines, Nigeria is exploring options for licensed production, in collaboration with recognized institutions. We are also exploring the option of local production of the vaccines in the country," Ehanire said.
Ehanire, who did not reveal details regarding the development of an indigenous coronavirus vaccine or licensed production, urged Nigerians to ignore claims by some people that they had COVID-19 vaccines for sale in the country.
"I advise against fake vaccines, as there is no one approved for use in the country. The National Primary Health Care Development Agency is the only authorized vaccine administrator in Nigeria," he said.
Ehanire told reporters that the number of new COVID-19 cases had continued to rise in the country, with 10,300 confirmed cases having been reported from just 50,750 samples tested in one week, translating into a 20 percent positive rate.
According to the minister, the government's main effort is to ensure social mobilization for testing, strengthening surveillance activities for early detection, active contact tracing, isolation, and treatment.